Thursday, 8 September 2011

Dutch swimming stars in Leeds

A team of swimmers likely to be representing the Netherlands at the London 2012 Olympic Games are training in Leeds this week as they build up to the Games.

The team have been carrying out training sessions at the Aquatics Centre at the John Charles Centre for Sport as part of an agreement to use the city as their pre-Games base.

The group being put through their paces includes Ranomi Kromowidjojo, who was a member of the 4x100m freestyle relay team which won gold medals at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and in the recent FINA World Aquatics Championships in Shanghai.

Ranomi Kromowidjojo can be seen in the pictures above on the front row of group shot (top image) wearing a white tracksuit as well as in the pool in the second and third image down.

School pupils from Farsley Farfield Primary School and Holy Family Primary School in Armley were given the chance to attend the session and watch the swimmers in action as well as asking them questions after the session had finished.

Olympic and world championship 4x100m freestyle relay gold medallist Ranomi Kromowidjojo said:

"It’s really important for us to be here in Leeds in advance of the Olympics to ensure the facilities are in keeping with our requirements and to have the opportunity to make any changes. The visit has been wonderful and, actually, everything in Leeds is absolutely right for us. The facilities are perfect and everyone has been very welcoming and accommodating. The Olympics feel very close now we’re here and I’m absolutely going for gold!"

Netherlands swimming head coach Jacco Verharen said:

"When we were looking for a base city in the UK, we wanted somewhere with a great pool, good hotel in peaceful surroundings and a great atmosphere. We’ve definately found that in Leeds. It’s a great city from which to do our final preparations. The pool at the John Charles Centre for Sport is of the highest standards, with great depths and great lines. On our rare free time we can also choose to visit the bustling city of Leeds or use it as a base to explore Yorkshire more widely then return to the surroundings of Oulton Hall – really perfect for our preparations."


For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde, senior communications officer,
Tel 0113 247 5472, email:

Learning for adults in the city gets a £1.2m cash boost

A new programme of adult learning will be available across the city from September 2011.

Leeds City Council has just awarded 11 contracts to a range of learning providers with a total value of £1.2m which will enable over 7,300 adults to undertake more than 23,000 hours of learning in the next academic year.

There will be a wide range of informal learning opportunities available including art and photography, cooking, pottery and creative writing amongst many others.

The opportunities are open to adults aged 19 or over and can provide a pathway for anyone who wishes to return to learning but may not have been in a college or learning environment for a number of years.

Councillor Peter Gruen, Leeds City Council executive board member with responsibility for jobs and skills said:
“The aim of informal adult learning is to get more people involved in learning experiences. We want people to be able to enjoy the courses, and to use the new skills gained as a starting point into further learning and employment.

“These courses can provide an opportunity for many people to try their hand at something new or build on the skills they already have and progress on to further learning.”

Parents at a number of schools will also get the chance to learn with their children through science projects in schools. These can include hands on activities to spark the imagination of both parents and children alike through interactive activities and experiments which explain what science is really about, and how it affects the world around us.

Information about all the opportunities available will be in libraries, shops, community centres and local learning centres across the city .

Leeds City Council will also be seeking to appoint providers from the local voluntary, community and faith sectors to deliver ‘Skills for Jobs’ activity in deprived communities. This funding will specifically be used to engage low skilled adults who are not working but wish to work and provide them with learning opportunities, training and progression routes to employment and /or further learning.

Notes to editors:

The 11 contracts are with Age UK, Leeds City College, Leeds College of Art, Leeds Libraries, Leeds YMCA , Mad Science, Northern College, People Matters, St Annes, Swarthmore Education Centre and Vera Media.

Some of the courses will also include tailored provision for people over 25 who have learning difficulties or disabilities.

Many of the courses will be available either free of charge or at a reduced rate for people who are receiving out of work or other eligible benefits.


For media enquiries, please contact;
Cat Milburn, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 247 4450